05042018-TTC-01.qxd 05-04-2018 01:18 Page 1 13 established in 1881 thursday,april 5, 2018 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 2 no. 93 | 16 pages | ~4.50 | regd. no. chd/0006/2018-2020 /thetribunechd /thetribunechd Washout: NDA MPs to forego salary for 23 days Gold quest Tribune News Service Olympic medallist PV Sindhu bears the Tricolour as she leads the Indian contingent at the opening of Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia, on Wednesday. PTI P14 Five Maoists shot dead in Jharkhand Ranchi: At least five suspected Maoists, including two commanders, were gunned down in a joint operation by the Jharkhand Police and the CRPF in the Bhargaon forest area of Latehar district on Wednesday. “Five suspected Maoists were killed in an hour-long operation. Two bodies have been recovered so far. Search is on to recover the remaining bodies. Arms and ammunition, including three AK-47 rifles, an INSAS rifle and a .303 rifle, have been recovered,” said DIG-Palamu range Bipul Shukla. The two self-styled sub-zonal commanders carried a bounty of Rs 5 lakh each on their heads. OC Respite for Punjab basmati growers Chandigarh: In a breather for basmati growers and exporters in Punjab and Haryana, the Geographical Indication (GI) Registry has dismissed the Madhya Pradesh Government’s plea for including 13 of its districts in the GI area for basmati. The MP Government has challenged the order in the Madras High Court. It is only after the issue is resolved can India initiate GI registration for this aromatic rice variety in other countries where there is a likelihood of name infringement. TNS HRD panel to suggest ways to prevent leaks Syed Ali Ahmed Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 4 The HRD Ministry has set up a seven-member committee to examine the system of conducting Class X and XII examinations by the CBSE with a view to prevent leaks. The committee, formed after the alleged leak of Class X mathematics and Class XII economics papers, will be headed by Vinay Sheel Oberoi, ex-Secretary, Higher Education, HRD Ministry. It will suggest measures to make the examination process “secure and foolproof through the use of technolo- gy” and submit a report to the ministry by May 31. The committee will examine all aspects related to security checks built into the system for ensuring that the question papers reach the examinees without being tampered with and potential weaknesses in the present system of transporting question papers from the printing press to examination centres. The CBSE came under heavy criticism after the leak of its question papers. The government later announced a reexam of economics paper on April 25, but ruled out a retest of the maths paper. SC rejects pleas against CBSE’s retest decision New Delhi, April 4 The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain petitions challenging the CBSE decision to conduct reexamination of the Class XII economics paper necessitated after an alleged leak. The petitioners had also demanded a CBI probe into the alleged paper leak, pointing out that several incidents were reported from various states and the Delhi Police was not competent to hold the nationwide probe. A Bench headed by Justice SA Bobde said it was the discretion of the CBSE to conduct retest. It asked the stu- dents to appear in the examination if and when conducted. Several petitions were filed before the top court after the CBSE said on March 28 that the Class X mathematics and Class XII economics paper had allegedly been leaked. The Board had on March 30 announced it would re-conduct the Class XII economics examination on April 25. The CBSE said on Tuesday that it had, after assessment, found that there was no impact of the alleged Class X maths paper leak and no retest would be held. — TNS edit: No maths retest! New Delhi, April 4 Two days before the “least productive Budget Session since 2000” comes to an acrimonious end, the government late Wednesday evening announced that NDA MPs would forego salaries for the 23 days Parliament had been held up by Opposition parties for varying reasons. The move to take the high ground came as NDA’s erstwhile ally and TDP chief began campaigning in Parliament over the “injustice” meted out to Andhra Pradesh. With no clarity on who remains in the NDA amid the churning, the BJP has 352 MPs — 274 in the Lok Sabha and 78 in the Rajya Sabha. The concept of “no work, no pay” was mooted by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in the first term of the UPA but found no takers then. Amid a din raised by the Opposition on various issues, including special status for Andhra Pradesh, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday saw an unprecedented 11 adjournments — as many as 10 in three hours. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar announced Tribune News Service SIDHU ROAD RAGE CASE NewDelhi, April 4 The Supreme Court on Wednesday lamented lack of civility on roads that often leads to road rage cases. “Civility on road is not one of the strengths of our society. Even on zebra crossings, no vehicle stops. In other countries, even the Head of State would stop. Here, people honk and speed up,” Justice J Chelameswar said. Justice Chelameswar is heading a Bench hearing cross-appeals challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict convicting Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu in a 1988 road rage case. “They only show courtesy of honking, if at all you call it courtesy,” added Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, the other judge on the Bench. Senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, who argued on behalf of the complainant in the case, said: “But road rage is here.” Kumar accused the prosecution of trying to help the accused during the trial. He, however, contended that merely because there were certain lapses on part of the prosecution, it can’t be a ground for acquittal as there was direct evidence of two witnesses against them. “It’s a settled legal position,” Kumar said. According to the prosecution, Sidhu and Sandhu were allegedly present in a Gypsy parked near Sheranwala Gate crossing in Patiala on Decem- ber 27, 1988, while Gurnam Singh (the deceased) was on his way to a bank in a Maruti car with two others. As Gurnam asked the Gypsy occupants to give them way, he was beaten up by the accused who fled the scene. Gurnam was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead. Sidhu and Sandhu were initially tried for murder but the trial court in September 1999 acquitted the cricketer-turned-politician. However, the high court reversed the verdict. Unprecedented: 10 RS adjournments in 3 hrs ■ The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday saw 11 adjournments amid a clash over how an anti-graft Bill should be passed and continued disruptions, prompting the Chair to lament the “murder of democracy”. ■ The House was first adjourned till 2 pm. It saw 10 adjournments in three hours as it re-convened in the afternoon. . in the evening: “It has been decided that NDA MPs will be giving up their salaries and allowances for the 23 days Parliament was not allowed to function by the Congress.” Putting the onus squarely on the main Opposition party, he accused the Congress of engaging in “anti-democratic politics by stopping important Bills from being passed, leading to criminal wastage of the taxpayer’s money.” With only two days left for Tribune News Service ❝ Andhra people feel the BJP government is playing with their emotions. They (Centre) are blaming me, saying we are prepared to give money, but you are not ready to take. They have given special status to 11 states in spite of 14th Finance Commission. Why not to Andhra? ❞ Chandrababu Naidu, CHIEF MINISTER New Delhi, April 4 Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday warned PM Narendra Modi of a public backlash for backtracking on the “special status” promise made to the people of the state. At a press conference here, he said his visit to the Capital was to seek wider political support for special status to the state, as promised by the UPA government in 2014 while legislating the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Act. Playing clips of PM Modi’s election speeches in Andhra, he asked: “What happened to these promises?” He said the Centre had been trying to “damage his credibility” ever since his party began a fight for “special category” status to the state. He demanded a joint parliamentary committee Verdict in blackbuck case today Normal monsoon this year: Skymet Jaipur, April 4 A Jodhpur court will deliver its verdict in the over 18year-old blackbuck poaching case against Bollywood hero Salman Khan, and five others, including four actors, on Thursday. Salman, Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and local resident Dushyant will be present in the court when the verdict is pronounced, the defence lawyer said. Salman is accused of killing two blackbucks on October 2, 1998, in Kankani village of Jodhpur during the shooting of film “Hum Saath Saath Hain”. The actor was acquitted by the High Court in two poaching cases of chinkara in Mathania village. — OC Tribune News Service Forecast bodes well for Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh farmers Vibha Sharma Actor Salman Khan at Jodhpur airport on Wednesday. PTI New Delhi, April 4 India is expected to experience a “normal” monsoon this year with no chance of drought, private forecaster Skymet said on Wednesday, bringing a major relief to the farming sector. While country’s official forecaster India Meteorological Department is yet to give its prediction, Skymet said most regions, including the Northwest, except parts of peninsular India, are likely to experience “normal rains”. “Monsoon 2018 is likely to remain normal at 100 per cent (with an error margin of +/-5%) of the long period average (LPA) of 887 mm for the four-month period between June and September,” it said in an encouraging prediction for the distressed farm sector and the country at large. Winter has registered very less rainfall and the levels in key reservoirs of the country are going down by the day. The four-month season accounts for 70 per cent of the country’s annual rainfall. Almost twothirds of the country’s agricultural land is rain-fed. As per Skymet, there is 55 per cent chance of a normal rainfall (between 95 and 105 per cent of the LPA), only 20 per cent chance of above normal rainfall, 20 per cent chance of below normal rainfall and nil chance of drought. the Budget session to end, the Lok Sabha productivity stands at 25 per cent and Rajya Sabha at 31 per cent — the least productive since 2000, according to a study. In the first half of the session, the Lok Sabha worked for 89 per cent of the scheduled time and Rajya Sabha for 96 per cent. However, during the second half, the productivity fell to 4 per cent for the Lok Sabha and 9 per cent for the Rajya Sabha. TDP seeks JPC on special status SC laments lack of civility on roads Satya Prakash Leaders hold placards in front of RS Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Countrywide prediction ■ 5% chance of excess (more than 110% of long period average) ■ 20% chance of above normal (between 105 and 110% of LPA) ■ 55% chance of normal (between 96 and 104% of LPA) ■ 20% chance of below normal (between 90 and 95% of LPA) ■ 0% chance of drought (less than 90% of LPA) June, it says, will record 111 per cent rains of the LPA. Thereafter, “gradual warm- ing of Pacific Ocean would result in devolving La Nina conditions, which would slightly impact its performance in following months”. Therefore, July and August may see comparatively lesser rainfall — 97 per cent and 96 per cent of the LPA, respectively. August may end up in “slightly below normal” category, it adds. Meanwhile, North India — comprising Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh — has good chances of seeing a normal season. In the last two years, barring Rajasthan, several parts of the North received deficit rainfall. (JPC) to look into the issue. On BJP’s charge that he had parted ways with the NDA for “vested political interests”, he said he had waited for four years and made 29 visits to Delhi. “The total neglect of Andhra Pradesh in the 2018-19 Budget was the last straw,” he said. He circulated a dossier detailing the circumstances under which the state was split “against the wishes of the people”, and the status of projects and pending funds. The CM said Union Finance Minster Arun Jaitley, citing the Finance Commission’s recommendations against special status, had said it would be provided help through “special assistance measure” that would include all ingredients of special status. “Even this has not materialised with the Centre imposing new conditions.” Earlier in the day, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal called on Naidu. MP accords MoS status to five sadhus Indore, April 4 Ahead of the Assembly elections later this year, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has accorded MoS (Minister of State) status to five sadhus— Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj and Pandit Yogendra Mahant. Appointed to a panel for Narmada’s conservation on March 31, two of them have cancelled their proposed campaign against the alleged scam in the Narmada conservation programme. Computer Baba, who had announced a ‘Narmada Ghotala Rath Yatra,’ in each district to expose the alleged scam, announced the campaign had been cancelled. — PTI
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